A Boutique Trusts & Estates Law Firm

Novel Ways To Revoke A Will

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

Each new Last Will and Testament automatically revokes the old one. But can a Will be revoked without executing a new one? Absolutely, and some ways of revoking a Will may surprise you.

Destruction – A Will is revoked by “burning, cancelling, tearing, or obliterating” it. If a Will is found only partially burnt or partially torn, it can become tricky to decide whether this reflects an intent to revoke or just normal wear and tear. A person can revoke particular parts of a Will merely by crossing them out, but no replacement text can be inserted without going through all the formalities of re-executing the Will (including two witnesses).

Misplacement – If the original Will cannot be found, it is presumed to have been destroyed by the testator and revoked. Even if there is a copy of the Will, the copy is not valid unless either (1) there is evidence to demonstrate that the testator did not revoke the original or (2) all the beneficiaries agree that the copy should be treated as a valid Will.

Marriage AND Children – A spouse has the right to take a portion of the deceased spouse’s estate regardless of what the Will says, but marriage itself does not revoke an earlier Will. It takes a combination of marriage AND the addition of new child to revoke a premarital Will. The addition can be by birth, by adoption or even by legal recognition of a child born before the marriage. But just to make things more confusing, revocation only occurs if the child (or a descendant of the child) outlives the parent with the premarital Will.

Divorce – Divorce revokes a Will, but only with respect to those parts of the Will “relating to” the spouse. The same is true with an annulment. But this rule will not apply if the deceased spouse indicates otherwise in his Will or in the divorce decree.

Even though a Will never goes stale by the mere passage of time, the unexpected ways in which a Will can be revoked are part of the reason why it is a good idea to review your estate plan every 3 years.


For Immediate Release

Contact: Jane Frankel Sims


Contact: Frank Campbell


Sims & Campbell Estates and Trusts

Frankel Sims Law and Holden & Campbell
Merge to Form Sims & Campbell

Firm will offer comprehensive Trusts & Estates services through offices in Towson and Annapolis

TOWSON, Md. (April 26,2019)  Frankel Sims Law and Holden & Campbell have jointly announced the merger of their firms to create a boutique Trusts & Estates law firm providing comprehensive services in the fields of Estate Planning, Estate Administration, Trust Administration and Charitable Giving. The combined firm will be named Sims & Campbell and have offices in Towson, Md. and Annapolis, Md.  Jane Frankel Sims and Frank Campbell will lead and hold equal ownership stakes in the firm.

Sims & Campbell will have 9 attorneys and 15 legal professionals that handle every facet of estate and wealth transfer planning, including wills, revocable living trusts, irrevocable trusts, estate and gift tax advice, and charitable giving strategies.  The firm will focus solely on Trusts & Estates but will serve a wide range of clients, from young families with modest resources to ultra-high net worth individuals.  This allows clients to remain with the firm as their level of wealth and the complexity of related estate and tax implications change over time. 

“By joining forces, we have expanded our footprint to conveniently serve clients in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia” said Jane Frankel Sims.  We are seeing some of the greatest wealth transfer in our country’s history, and we want to continue to be on the leading edge of helping our clients maintain and enhance their family’s wealth.  In addition, we aim to serve our clients for years to come, and the new firm structure will allow Sims & Campbell to thrive even after Frank and I have retired.”    

“Jane and I have always admired each other’s firms and recognized the need to provide even greater depth and breadth of focused expertise to help families amass and protect their wealth from generation to generation,” said Frank Campbell.  “Now we have even greater capabilities to make a real difference for our clients.” 

The Sims & Campbell Towson office is located at 500 York Road, on the corner of York Road and Pennsylvania Avenue in the heart of Towson.  The Annapolis office is currently located at 716 Melvin Avenue, and is moving to 181 Truman Parkway in August, 2019.  For more information, visit www.simscampbell.law.